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The Open Mind interview with Timothy Dufeu

January 18, 2013

The Open Mind interview with Timothy Dufeu

Extremely rare, but exceptionally good album was released back in 1969 on Philips Records. The Open Mind were an amazing band. Timothy Dufeu, their bassist shares their full history here:


Where were you born and brought up?
I was born in Malvern, Worcestershire. My
father was Chief Petty Officer at HMS Duke, a land based naval station during
the war. We moved to Tooting, London when I was two. We then moved to Putney,
London when I was four. I remember as a child, in Putney, with friends
investigating bomb sites. Also sweets were still rationed.
When did you start playing bass and what
did inspire you to do so?
I started playing bass in the mid-60s.
Originally I was singer in a band called the Apaches, then I was guitarist,
then bass player. I took up the bass because the original bass player left –
sorry not much inspiration there!
What was the first band you joined?
The Apaches. We recorded a demo record with
Joe Meek.
Did you release anything?
No, sadly.
When was The Drag Set born?
The Drag Set was formed about 1965. We all
lived in the same neighbourhood.

Tim Dufeu Marque Club, London

Tim in Philips Studios

Day and Night” / “Get Out of My Way” was released on Go! label in 1967.
It was recorded as a demo for our agent to promote the band. It was released as a single and played in clubs around London and the counties. To my knowledge, it was never played on the radio nor was it for sale to the general public.

Did The Drag Set play many gigs?

Yes, we played mainly in London clubs such
as The Flamingo, the Playboy Club, Cafe des Artistes in Chelsea, and The
Pontiac to name a few. On the bill were bands such as Unit 4+2 and The Small Faces. We
covered mainly Motown stuff and R&B (Chuck Berry etc). We were also
last-minute replacements at The Crawdaddy, if the band didn’t show up. We also
backed Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies and Brownie McGhee.

Was there any line-up change when you decided to become The Open Mind?
No.
Was “Armada” a temporary name for the band?
Armada was after the Open Mind folded. Me,
Terry, Garry Window and Steve Florence were the members (plus a drummer, who I
can’t remember the name of) and we played progressive jazz at The Electric
Garden, Happening, 100 Club. Armada gradually faded away in the mid-70s.
How did you decide to use the name “The Open Mind”? It goes well with the spirit of the times.
My mum chose it, really. I told her I
needed to think of a new name for the band and was thinking up all sorts of
weird things. She said “Why not call it The Open Mind” because she
said she didn’t understand my way of life but had to have an open mind.
You released “Horses and Chariots” / “Before My Time” and “Magic Potion” / “Cast a Spell” and an LP back in 1969
on Philips Records. How did you get signed up?
Chapel Music signed us up.

What do you remember from recording and
producing your LP?
Our producer was Johnny Franz who produced
Dusty Springfield and Scott Walker. It was recorded at Philips studios in
Stanhope Place, Kensington. Our manager’s son, stopped the recording to
announce that his dad (our manager) had died and then just walked off!
How was the LP distributed and how many
copies were pressed?
Sorry, I don’t know. I do know that we
didn’t sell very many!
I would really love if you could
comment songs from the album.
Can’t comment on all of them, but most of
the music was composed and put together during rehearsals. Mick would come up
with a song, Terry would say “Let’s do it this way” then I would say “No, let’s
do it this way”; eventually the song would be structured. I wanted to get away
from the soppy songs like “Dear Louise” and become more edgy. I had a set of
French graphics Sci-Fi books. As I couldn’t speak French I used my imagination
to think up the ideas for songs such as “My Mind Cries”, “Thor the Thunder God”,
“Magic Potion”, “Horses & Chariots”, “Before My Time” and “Cast a Spell”.
The cover artwork is absolutely
stunning. 
The cover was done by Philips’ inhouse
design group, based on my discussions. The main picture uses the head of the
“Charioteer of Delphi”.

How about song writing?
Mick and Terry put the words to my ideas.
Where all did
you play?
We were a resident band at London’s Marque Club and the UFO Club also The Round House Camden town, The 100 Club Oxford St. Also played at The Pontiac Club in Putney, the Establishment in Soho,
Flamingo and a lot of Universities in London. Outside of London we played
various places in Surrey, Caesar’s Palace in Birmingham but never strayed too
far. Others on the bill were Joe Cocker, Arthur Brown, Electric Prunes, John
Mayall, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Action, Neat Change.

What are some fond memories?

Terry Schindler, Philip Fox & Steve
Florence
At a gig in Surrey, the Neat Change came
along to see us and we had this pyrotechnic display with flash powder in red
and green, which I obtained from a theatrical supplier. We used to light this
stuff, and have strobe lights and other oil projections. The Neat Change asked
me where I got all this theatrical equipment from and one of the guys said that
he had got some safety flares from a ship chandlers that he was going to use on
the stage at their next gig, which happened to be the Marquee! I rest my case!! Further information on this could be obtained from London Fire Brigade.
Steve Florence, Tim Dufeu & Terry Schnidler
Philip Fox, Tim Dufeu & Steve Florence
What happened next?
Our management at the time was involved
with some dodgy gangster types and a lot of places. They were reluctant to work with
us. So a change in name (to Armada) and a new manager resulted.
After leaving Armada, I ran my own graphics
design business and went on to work for various design companies both in the UK
and Middle East. Terry moved to Vancouver, where he a great success in the rag
trade. Phil Fox ran a pub in the Midland. I’ve lost touch with Mick but do
occasionally speak to his brother.
What currently occupies your life?
I’ve been retired for a few years now,
apart from the occasional freelance graphic assignment, I belong to the
Hammersmith Ukulele Group so still involved in music! I also paint and love
cooking. My wife and I are also big fans of Ben Waters and have been on a tour
with him to Memphis and New Orleans.

Terry Schindler & Tim Dufeu



Any regrets?
Life’s too short for regrets! Only I wish I
had kept my original copy of the LP – it’s worth a bit more that it was when
released!

Thank you. Last word is yours.
Thanks to everyone for keeping the Open
Mind alive. I love hearing from people who enjoy our music.
Cheers!
Tim
– Klemen Breznikar
© Copyright http://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2013
4 Comments
  1. afterglowman

    fantastic interview and how good were Timothy's answers, thank you very much for this, great band The Open Mind

  2. The Hypnotic Bridge

    Thanks for the insights into the story behind one of the best UK psych albums of the '60s, Tim. The Open Mind are deservedly legendary and the music your crafted is as mindblowing today as it was on the day you made it.

  3. gethepicture

    Very interesting, I always wandered about these guys..

  4. Warren Nelson

    I don't suppose any recordings exist of the Armada? would be very intersted in this

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